Skylab data indicated that prolonged exposure of human subjects to microgravity environment causes significant muscle atrophy accompanied by reduced muscle strength and fatigue resistance. The objective of this study was to determine decrements in muscle size, if any, in the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles of male and female astronauts after 9 days of space flight. Methods: Eight astronauts, one female and seven male, between the ages of 31 and 59 years 59-84 kg in body weight were examined by MRI 2-3 times preflight within 16 days before launch, and 2 days, (n=6) and seven days (n=3) after landing. The right leg muscles (gastroc-soleus) were imaged with a lower extremity coil in magnets operating at 1.0 or 1.5 Tsela. The imaging protocol consisted of spin echo with a Tr of 0.70 - 1.5 sec. Thirty to forty 3-5 mm thick slices were acquired in 256 x 128 or 256 x 256 matrices. Acquisition time lasted 20-40 minutes. Multiple slices were measured by computerized planimetry. Results: Compared to the preflight, the cross-sectoral areas (CSA) of the soleus, gastrocnemius, and the leg, at 2 days after landing were reduced (at least p less than 0.05) 8.9 percent, 13.2 percent, and 9.5 percent respectively. The soleus and the leg of three astronauts evaluated at 7 days postflight did not show full recovery compared to the preflight values. Conclusions: It is concluded that l9-days of space flight may cause significant decreases in CSA of the leg muscles. The factors responsible for this loss need further determination.